By The Numbers: NPR Releases 2017 Staff Diversity Data

National Public Radio (NPR) Logo (NPR)

National Public Radio (NPR) Logo (NPR)

National Public Radio (NPR) has committed to inclusive hiring practices by releasing its newsroom diversity data each year. Last month, the diversity data for 2017 was released for 377 employees. All data was self-reported. I also compared these numbers to NPR’s 2016 diversity data.

Here’s the race/ethnicity breakdown:

White: 75.1%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – White: -.3%

Latino: 6.1%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – Latino: .7%

Black: 8.8%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – Black: .8%

Asian: 7.7%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – Asian: -6.%

Two or More Reported: 2.1%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – Two or More Reported: -.5%

American Indian: .3%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – American Indian: 0%

Here’s the gender split:

Male: 43.8%

  • Change Year-Over-Year – Male (%): -1.1%

Female: 56.2%

Change Year-Over-Year – Female (%): +1.1%

Obviously, there are some problems here. The first problem is that the data is self-reported, so we can assume that respondents self-selected to participate. The second problem is that there is not nearly enough diversity on staff. The third problem is that progress towards more diversity is proceeding too slowly. More progress needs to be made!


How Common is Gestational Surrogacy?

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York (The Huffington Post)

FILE PHOTO – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Last month, reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West and her husband Kanye West announced the birth of their third child. The couple’s daughter Chicago was carried via a gestational surrogate. She was created from a fertilized egg taken from Kardashian West, and had no genetic tie to the surrogate.

How common is gestational surrogacy?

It’s not that common, but it’s difficult to nail down exact numbers. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reported 1.5K+ babies born from gestational surrogates in 2011, up from 1.3K+ babies born via the method in 2009. Another source reports 1.4K+ babies born via gestational surrogacy.

It’s difficult to pin down an actual number, because some cases of gestational surrogacy may not reported. It’s also difficult to tell when the sample size is so small.

As the procedure becomes more widely available, we’ll be able to see how common gestational surrogacy really is.

GLAAD Reports 11% Increase in LGBTQ Discrimination in 2017

Rainbow Flag (Sauk Valley)

Rainbow Flag (Sauk Valley)

It’s no secret that the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination throughout history. And it looked like that things were getting better (to rip from Dan Savage). But the data tells a different story.

LGBT organization GLAAD recently released the results from its Accelerating Acceptance study at the World Economic Forum. GLAAD has put out this study every year since 2014 to measure attitudes towards people who identify as LGBTQ. This year’s study polled 2.1K+ people, and found that, we’re not making progress as one might reasonably expect. We’re actually backsliding.

The study found that non-LGBTQ people have become more uncomfortable in everyday situations where they might interact with members of the LGBTQ community. Situations included “having LGBT members at my place of worship” and “seeing a same-sex couple holding hands.” The percentage of respondents reporting discomfort ticked upwards at least two percentage points year-over-year (2016 vs. 2017) in each category.

Non-LGBT people are also shying away from calling themselves allies: The term dropped 2% in preference year-over-year. “Detached supporters” (defined as non-LGBT people whose comfort level depended on the situation) gained 4% in popularity.

LGBT people also reported more discrimination in 2017, leading to an 11% increase in reported harassment from 2016. It doesn’t take a genius to draw parallels between this stat and the kind of person who currently occupies the Oval Office.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Despite the decreases in the numbers of non-LGBT people reporting being comfortable around the LGBT community, the reported support for equal rights for LGBT people held steady year-over-year at 79%.

One thing that’s unclear is the methodology used: Are these results self-reported, or were respondents selected by another method? And did people lie about supporting equal rights, but tell the truth everywhere else? I’d love to know this.

This study is very disheartening. We still have a long way to go until it truly gets better.



13K Women Interested in Running for Public Office

Women's March (Social Work Blog)

Women take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Lott – RTX2PDGE

Ever since Donald Trump became the president-elect in November, women have felt compelled to act out. The Women’s Marches that took place all over the world on January 21 were a great example. Now, some women are interested in taking their civic duty further by running for office.

NY Mag‘s “The Cut” estimates there are 13K women interested in running for public office. They arrived at this number by looking to different organizations that help women run for public office: VoteRunLead has 3.5K women interested, EMILY’s List has 4K+, and She Should Run has 8K+ interested women.

As the article points out, it’s unlikely that all of these women will run. It’s also probable that other women will join these organizations later. It remains to be seen how (or even if) this will impact the 2018 midterm elections, but it certainly looks like #thefutureisfemale.

Google Trends: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (CNN)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (CNN)

With all the craziness surrounding this election, I’ve gotten more and more curious about how the Google Trends numbers stack up for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Let’s take a look!

First, here’s a Google Trends graph of searches for the presidential candidates within the past week (Oct. 24-Oct. 31):

National search interest in the candidates, past week (Google Trends)

National search interest in the candidates, past week (Google Trends)

Here’s the long-term trend of Google users searching “hillary clinton” over the past five years:

Search term 'hillary clinton' interest over time (Google Trends)

Search term ‘hillary clinton’ interest over time (Google Trends)

Check out those spikes!! That first large spike is from Jul. 24-30, 2016. The second spike is Sept. 11-17, 2016.

And here’s the same for “donald trump:”

Search term 'donald trump' interest over time (Google Trends)

Search term ‘donald trump’ interest over time (Google Trends)

Here’s how searches for the two candidates look over time (fittingly, Clinton’s in blue, Trump’s in red):

Search terms 'hillary clinton' and 'donald trump' over time (Google Trends)

Search terms ‘hillary clinton’ and ‘donald trump’ over time (Google Trends)

Here’s “hillary clinton” and “donald trump” searched over the past 12 months only in the U.S.:

Search terms 'hillary clinton' and 'donald trump' over the past 12 months in the U.S. (Google Trends)

Search terms ‘hillary clinton’ and ‘donald trump’ over the past 12 months in the U.S. (Google Trends)

To be honest, I really don’t know how to parse this data. It seems that people who are searching for Trump…Google him more often? Needless to say, we won’t get any clear answers here.

Burkini Sales Rise by 200% After French Ban

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Earlier this summer, coastal French towns courted controversy when their respective mayors decided to ban burkinis on beaches. The burkini consists of a long-sleeved top with long pants and a head covering, and was developed for women who follow Islamic modesty standards so that they could go swimming while still covered. The term “burkini” comes from a portmanteau of the words “burqa” and “bikini.”

Despite the ban, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti says that online sales of now-famous swimwear have risen over 200%+ recently. (Now, we don’t know what her sales had been previously, or what the year-over-year change has proved to be, so unfortunately we have incomplete information.)

Zanetti says that her customers are not homogeneously Muslim. She reports that about 40% of her customers are from other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Mormonism, that adhere to modest dress standards.

The burkini ban stems from a stringent French view on separating religion from the state. The French government has banned religious symbols from government buildings since 2004. A ban specifically on burqas was passed in 2011.

Right now, about 30 French towns have instituted the ban, though the town of Villeneuve-Loubet has since overturned it.


How Many People Check Their Phones During Sex?

Woman texting in bed (Khurki)

Woman texting in bed (Khurki)

I don’t know about you, but I was taught not to be rude. In any situation (if I can help it). And that respect extends to my bedroom, and whatever partner is lucky enough to occupy it with me for that time.

This includes minimizing distractions so I can concentrate on getting it on and getting off. And in our super-connected state, what could be more distracting than your phone? Turns out others were also curious about that, and now there are, not one, but two, studies that exist on the topic.

A 2013 study done in England surveyed 1.7K+ men and women. The results found that 62% of women and 48% of men had interrupted sex to play with their phone. It broke down into specifics: Answering a call was 34% of the time, answering a text was 24%, and answering an email comprised 22%. Weirdly, the results didn’t break down the specifics by gender.

Oh yeah, and 34% of respondents claimed to be OK with the fact that their partner had turned their attention to their phone during the act. Sure, sounds legit. (I’d be mad as hell, but that’s just me.)

Also, we don’t know the ages of the respondents. I’d be tempted to speculate that the people who can’t leave their phones alone during sex would be of the millennial cohort (since my generation’s phones are practically appendages), but of course I can’t be certain.

But wait, there’s more!

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Virginia presented findings focused on how our phones are distracting us from everything. Including, yes, sex.

(Side note: the scientists presented said research at the aptly-named Association for Computing Machinery’s Human-Computer Interaction conference. Who knew one existed?!)

Anyway, here’s an interesting discrepancy: only 10% of people admitted picking up their phones during sex. That’s a large gap between the 48-62% that the English study claimed. I don’t know whether this boils down to different social/sexual/technological mores across the pond, but that’s a huge gap in self-reporting.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. Come on, using your phone during sex is just inexcusable. Give your partner your full attention!

If you’re one of those people, do your current/future partners a favor and put that shit on airplane mode when you’re getting down.